Power station could get armed guard

The environmental court in Växjö has decided that armed guards are needed to protect the nuclear power station in Oskarshamn. But the law does not allow for such a measure and so the court is handing over the decision on how the site is to be run to the government.

A security review of the nuclear power station has been on-going since the end of the 1990’s, but a re-evaluation was conducted following the 11th September attacks in New York in 2001. Wednesday’s decision from the environmental court is the first time in Sweden it has been deemed necessary to protect a nuclear power station with armed guards. The national task force, based in Stockholm, is

available, but is insufficient according to the court.

The security arrangements currently in place could hold up an armed attack from land or sea, but are not sufficient to deter one, according to the court. That view is shared by the security police, Säpo.

Last year, the environmental court in Vänersborg, referred the decision regarding a contract to run the nuclear power station in Ringhals over to the government. But then there was no discussion about armed security. The reasons in that case included the unsolved question of final storage of the nuclear fuel. Ringhals was the first nuclear power station to be tried according to the new environmental laws.

“I can’t say why the question of armed security was not taken up then,” said Klas Bergenstråhle, a judge at the environmental court in Växjö. “We’ve come to our own decision.”

OKG, who run the power station, don’t think armed security is necessary. They are following the guidelines set out by the Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI), which makes no mention of such measures.

“What’s more, we don’t think the issue of armed security is a question for an environmental court,” said OKG’s communications director, Anders Österberg, to TT.

He also said that there was a special force in Kalmar which could be on site in Oskarshamn significantly quicker than the national task force.

Cecilia Eklund, press secretary for sustainable development minister, Mona Sahlin, told TT that the matter would probably end up on minister of the environment, Lena Sommestad’s, desk. It could then be referred on to the ministry of justice.

“It’s still too soon for a comment from the government,” said Eklund.